Google’s new Pixel Tablet might be the end of the smart display

With the arrival of the Pixel Tablet with a charging speaker dock at Google I/O, Google did what it does best: killed a product. This time, it didn’t just kill its product; it foreshadowed the death of the entire smart display category. They had a good run, but folks, it’s the end of the line. The precise time of death was when Google exec Rose Yao described the new Pixel Tablet on its dock like this: “It feels like a smart display, but it has one huge advantage … Android apps.” When one of really only two companies that make smart displays proudly proclaims that its shiny new smart home control device is not a smart display, the game is up. Yao also correctly pointed out one of two major problems with smart displays: their software is frustratingly limited. Their hardware is bad, too. That’s a powerful double blow. The entry-level Echo Show 5 costs $85, and the Nest Hub is $99, and both are frequently available for much less. An iPad, a Google Pixel Tablet, or this very cool-looking shared family tablet from Hearth start at around $300 and go up to $700.

Sony’s budget wireless earbuds are a good value with inevitable compromises

Sony’s WF-C700N earbuds give you a lot for their reasonable price of $119.99. That’s always been true of the company’s underrated entry-level wireless earbuds dating back to the corkscrew-like WF-XB700s in 2020, and Sony has gradually tacked on more features with each revision. The WF-C500 buds switched to a more conventional design and added support for Sony’s companion smartphone app. And a few weeks ago came the new WF-C700N earbuds, which bring noise cancellation to Sony’s budget tier for the first time. The thing that’s always impressed the customers about this series is comfort and stability; Sony’s earbuds seal securely and have naturally blocked out a lot of ambient noise even before there was proper ANC. There’s a lot to like, and the C700N buds seem poised to keep building the company’s momentum at this price point. Both the XB700 and C500 earbuds had a semitransparent upper lid on their carrying case. This made it effortless to see the charging status of each individual earbud as well as the case itself since the LEDs for all three were visible.